High Meadows Fund: Environmental Philanthropy Fellow

Apply here. (Applications due Friday, January 13, 2017)

Non-U.S. citizens are not eligible to apply for this position.

Website: http://www.highmeadowsfund.org/

Location: Burlington, VT

Fellowship Position

Position title: Environmental Philanthropy Fellow

Department: The High Meadows Fund

Reports to: President

Address of fellowship placement: 77 College Street, Burlington, VT

Department Description

The High Meadows Fund (HMF), founded in 2004, is a philanthropic organization based at the Vermont Community Foundation. HMF’s mission is to promote vibrant communities and a healthy natural environment while encouraging long-term economic vitality in Vermont. High Meadows is governed by a board of directors recognized for their experience and leadership. High Meadows supports leadership and innovation in three overlapping areas of focus:

  1. Land Use: Encouraging working farms and forests, compact settlements, and land use that protects upstream and downstream communities, soil, and water quality.
  2. Sustainable Farm and Forest Enterprises: Improving the economic viability of enterprises that build markets for Vermont farm and forest products while maintaining healthy soils, clean water, and sustainable natural systems.
  3. Energy: Lowering the economic, social, and environmental costs of energy, especially in low income communities, by promoting efficiency, reducing waste, and lowering fossil fuel use.

Position Description

The High Meadows fellow reports directly to Gaye Symington, President of the High Meadows Fund. With a staff of just 2.6 full time employees (including the fellow), this position is crucial to the organization’s operation. HMF’s work expands beyond grantmaking: We take a convening role in initiatives relating to HMF’s mission; engage in research projects; participate in statewide networks; and undertake collaborative opportunities with individuals and organizations working in our areas of focus. The fellow will be instrumental in identifying and pursuing opportunities where philanthropic support could make the greatest impact.

Examples of specific responsibilities, projects, tasks, and/or duties of the Fellow include:

  1. The fellow will be an active participant in the work of the board of directors, which meets 7 times throughout the year. Board meetings are highly interactive; differing opinions are valued, and the fellow is encouraged to engage in these discussions. In preparation for these meetings the fellow is expected to:
    • Assess grant proposals submitted to HMF and prepare recommendations to co-workers and the Board of Directors. These recommendations are typically written, and may involve further discussions in person, by phone, or at formal board meetings
    • Assess outcomes, effectiveness, and impact of HMF grantmaking
    • Coordinate logistics for board meetings, site visits, and larger convenings
    • Prepare for and provide follow-up for board meetings
  2. The fellow will work closely with the HMF president to fulfill the following tasks:
    • Participate in conferences and discussions with board members, funding partners, and other stakeholders across the state
    • Provide support and engage in HMF or Vermont Community Foundation-sponsored initiatives and convenings
    • Update communications materials (website)
  3. The High Meadows Fellow currently coordinates two networks; the Vermont Food Funders Network (VFFN) and the Vermont Changemakers Table. The VFFN is a group of seven or eight grantmaking organizations who share learning related to Vermont’s food system. The Vermont Changemakers’ Table is a partnership between HMF and the Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility, meeting quarterly for meals and conversation between those entering careers and those with experience leading change-making organizations. The nature of these responsibilities may shift as these networks develop over time. Each of these groups currently meets quarterly.
  4. In addition to these responsibilities, the fellow is encouraged to pursue opportunities for growth in areas of particular interest, especially in the second year of the fellowship. The president will work with the fellow to design projects based on his or her interests, skills, experience, and opportunities that arise due to our engagement with grantees and stakeholders. 


  • Excellent writing, organizational, administrative, and problem-solving skills
  • Self-motivated, independent, and enterprising. Willing to speak up to create opportunities of value to HMF and the fellow
  • Ability to prioritize and ask clarifying questions when needed. Available for assignments as they arise
  • Curiosity and experience following a line of inquiry
  • Interest in working in a fast-paced organization committed to learning and innovation
  • Articulate and outgoing. Able to represent HMF at meetings, convenings, and conferences
  • Detail-oriented and highly dependable
  • Commitment to the purposes and values of the High Meadows Fund and environmental issues, including a belief/interest/curiosity in the power of philanthropy to effect positive societal change
  • Excellent computer skills, including experience with Microsoft Office, database management, basic web-based platforms, etc.

Professional Development

Throughout the year several opportunities arise for professional development. These typically include:

  • At least one two or three day conference, national in scope
  • Three or four one-day conferences or workshops specific to areas of our work (clean energy, sustainable agriculture and land use)
  • Three HMF board meetings are set up as learning sessions, with invited guests.